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Poems and 'Autobiographical Notes: mainly in connection with Gosse and Hardy', 1920-1939 (circa; largely 1930s)

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9852/6/4

Scope and Contents

This notebook containing poetical drafts and autobiographical notes on Edmund Gosse, Ralph Hodgson, and Thomas Hardy. It also includes further prose and transcript-type diary entries. The notebook was used from both ends; after folio 22 entries continue from the back. The title page is illustrated with a heart emblem above the words, 'My heart ever faithful'. Contents:

Notes and prose drafts on Gosse: /1v-6v. These include: - 'Outline for chapter 6', which was to contain sections on Gosse's Thornycraft connections, on Sassoon's 'own mental history in regard to Gosse', and on his 'literary idyll': /1v-2r. - Notes on Sassoon's early meetings with Gosse, and on meeting Robert Ross: /2v. - Notes and prose draft entitled 'But I must go back to the very beginning', in which Sassoon recalls reading 'Gosse's graceful verses' as a child, dated 1 Aug. 1931: /3r. - Notes on Gosse and Bridges, recollections on Gosse's voice, and suggested topics for invented Gosse dialogue: /3v. - Recollections on various meetings with Gosse, which take the form of diary entries covering 11 Jan. 1923 (with Blunden), 17 June 1924, 25 June, 13 July and 13 Oct. [1924]. They include a discussion of Sassoon's difficulties assimilating friends who did not get on well together, with mention of E.M. Forster as among those who disliked Gosse, 'who was violently unfair about Howard's End'. A further entry, beginning 'This comedy of incompatibilities continues', dates to 15 April 1931 and describes a letter Sassoon received from Ruth Head in which she expressed her 'repulsion' for Gosse (see also a typed transcript of the same, enclosed): /4. - Notes on Gosse's style of communication and on his being unmusical: /5r. - Diary entries on meetings with Gosse dated May 1923 - Nov. 1925. Includes an entry for 31 March 1925 recounting an incident in which Sassoon mistakenly hand-delivered a copy of 'Lingual Exercises' to Gosse which was inscribed to Henry and Ruth Head: /5v-6v.

Notes on Ralph Hodgson: /7v-12v. These include: - Two quotations from Hodgson, 26 May 1932, and a note on his interests in later life, 2 Oct. 1957: /7v. - Notes on Hodgson's talk, 29 Oct 1931: /8r. - Prose letter entitled 'Answer to a correspondent who writes (from the year 2031) to ask for significant details of R.H. as I observed them during our book-hunting tour': /8v & 9v-10r. - Further notes dated 10-14 Nov. 1931: /9r. - Transcript-type diary entry dated 16 Nov. 1931, recording a five-day trip Sassoon took with Hodgson, much of which was spent book-hunting: /10r-12v. 'Notes for 4000 words on T.H. [Thomas Hardy]': /13v- 15v. These were intended for a 'revaluation' of Hardy for the book 'The Great Victorians', edited by H. Massingham. They include short extracts from Hardy, quotations about him, and Sassoon's own notes and prose drafts assessing Hardy's work and writing style.

Draft poetry: - 'The Faded Cloth of 1847', 1931: /16v. - 'An Exercise in Ws', a poem written around the word 'whiskered': /17v. - Two drafts of a poem entitled 'Reply to a Request', 8 Nov. 1932, written in response to being asked to write 200 words on whether he would serve again if there was another war: /18r-19r. - Poem beginning 'I have discovered in the drift of time's cloud', 16 Dec. 1932: /20v. - Poem concerning the soul, beginning 'The problem which concerns me most', 9 Jan. 1933: /21v. - Poem beginning 'Earth and heaven, heart and soul', 11 Dec. 1938: /31v. - 'As she would have wished it', 9 Jan. 1939, with a note that the poem was written on the death of Max [Beerbohm]'s sister Constance while she was staying at Heytesbury`: /31v. - Extracts from 'Of Solitude' by John Norris (1657-1711), with some phrases underlined by Sassoon: /29v & 30v. - 'A Mediaeval Vibration', 5 Mar. 1933 (poem is excised): /30r. - 'Infinities of Oblivion', 7 Aug. 1932: /29r. - 'The Shadow of a Platonist', 7 Dec. 1931: /28v-29r. - 'Forty Years Ago', 3 Oct. 1932: /28r. - 'Unbound Visitants', 4 Oct. 1932, originally in pencil but reworked in ink: /27v. - Poem beginning 'The tyrants of the past were mainly men', 27 Feb. 1933: /27r. - Poem, originally in pencil but erased and illegible, dated 16 Dec. 1931: /26v. - 'Direct Utterance', draft poem incorporating lines from works by Alfred Lord Tennyson, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Christina Rossetti. With related notes on poetry style, a prose passage on the art of poetry, and lists of works by William Wordsworth, Thomas Hardy, Walter de la Mare and Alfred Edward Housman: /25v-26r. - 'Dancing Animals', 30 Dec. 1932: /24v. - 'The First Bacterial bomb', 19 Feb. 1933: /22r. - 'Totality', 25 Feb. 1933 (four-line poem crossed out with note 'not logical!'): /22r. - 'A Point of View', 1 Apr. 1933: /21r. - 'Memorial Service for an Honest Soldier', 16 Feb. 1933, with an additional verse added later in pencil: /19v-20r.

Additional prose entries: - Entry describing a railway carriage conversation Sassoon had with a drunken fellow passenger who had served in the war: /19v. - 'The Way of the World - A Reminiscence', 16 Feb. 1933: /22v-24r. - Draft copy of a letter addressed to Archbishop [William] Temple protesting at his letter to The Times condoning war under certain circumstances; with a note from Sassoon that he received 'a very patient & reasonable reply' [1933]: /21r.

Three enclosures are to be found in separate envelopes. The foliation is the archivist's.


  • Creation: 1920-1939 (circa; largely 1930s)


Conditions Governing Access

Fragile - please handle with care.


1 volume(s) (31 ff.)

3 folder(s)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Notebook with grey cloth covers.

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom